For both backpackers and luxury-orientated travelers, it truly doesn’t get much better than Bali. A slice of paradise noted for its stunning landscapes, perfect beaches and impressive temples, Bali is loved the world over and is a must-visit spot in Southeast Asia. Since the start of the pandemic, the island has been reeling from the lack of tourists, with livelihoods shattered and many businesses shuttered temporarily or closed indefinitely. However, this might not be the case for much longer. The Indonesian government is hard at work putting a plan together that could see tourism in Bali pick up the pace sooner rather than later.

Are Travelers Still Heading To Bali?
Prior to the pandemic, Bali was a popular spot for international travelers with 6.3 million making their way to the province in 2019, which represented a growth on the previous year’s figures. However, this year’s statistics make for grim reading.

In September, only 83 foreign tourists entered Bali, which represented a 99.986% drop on the number of foreign tourists arriving in September 2019. At present, entry to Indonesia is still banned for travelers from abroad, with exceptions made for those with residence permits or visas such as business visas, so the figures are likely to remain on the low side for the rest of 2020.

Will Bali Be Open To International Travelers Any Time Soon?
Whilst at one point travel to Bali looked a sure thing, it’s unlikely that foreign travelers will be unable to enter until next year. Bali had originally planned to open its borders to international travelers from 11th September. However, this plan was shelved following a rise in cases around the world and Indonesia. Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster announced in August that foreign travelers will be unable to enter Indonesia for the remainder of 2020 due to it being unsafe to travel, with exceptions being made dependent on status and visa type.

However, a delegation from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) had other ideas. Following an on-site assessment of the implementation of Bali’s health and safety protocols, Harry Hwang – the UNWTO’s Asia Pacific Director – was impressed with what he saw. Hwang said that Bali was ready for tourism, and wouldn’t be surprised if the government announced that it was open to international travelers before Christmas.

Whilst it remains unlikely that Bali is to open its borders fully before Christmas, the UNWTO’s words suggest that the opening is not too far away.

What Bali Is Doing To Get Ready For International Travelers
With tourist to Bali proving to be invaluable for the local and national economy, the government is working hard to get ready for international travelers. The government’s meeting with the UNWTO involved nearly 200 officials, and they discussed health procedures and immigration protocols needed to re-open Bali safely. The press release by the UNWTO said that the government of Indonesia is considering a phased re-entry to Bali, and explicitly noted the need to be tested prior to arrival and upon arrival, and a health certificate system for tourist destinations in Bali, as two measures that may be implemented.

Recently, the Indonesian government announced that domestic travelers arriving in Bali by air must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result. Bali’s deputy governor stated that this was because they planned to re-open Bali to foreign tourism in the first quarter of 2021, and this was largely contingent on keeping cases numbers on the island down.

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